The primary focus in our training system is the overall state of mind of the dog. Most of the dogs we work with struggle with anything from lack of impulses to extreme anxieties. There are not many things that are quite as beneficial to achieving impulse control and melting away anxiety issues as practicing duration in positions.
An essential habit to develop is to work on your “bed stays” or “down stays” daily for a minimum of 45 minutes. Once a week I try to do 2 hours straight with my personal dogs. Look for areas in your day to day where your dog would be showing signs of unnecessary arousal or being annoying, and put this to use.
When practicing this, put your dog in position somewhere in eyesight. I usually recommend using “Bed” in the house as it is a more clear position and much less likely that your dog will try to army crawl around the room. Proceed to go about whatever you were currently doing while keeping an eye on the dog to make sure he hasn’t gotten up. If your dog breaks command say “No”, correct with your remote collar at a motivating level, and take our dog all the way back to the spot they were in. Be 100% consistent about correcting ANY TIME the dog breaks command and follow through until they relax into the position. Avoid working on duration with you out of sight until your dog is reliable with you in sight.
Great opportunities that I have found with my personal dogs to work their duration are: Having guests over, Cooking dinner, Mealtime, Winding down in the evening before bed, or when you are trying to do household chores.
You will find some of these situations will be much harder for the dog than others. You may see excessive whining, panting, restlessness, or other signs of stress. I will typically refer to this as “the good stress”. The stress of your dog working hard and finding new ways to cope with their anxieties and arousal. If you are seeing these signs while working duration it is important to STICK WITH IT. Each time will get easier as your dog works through their old habits. If it’s hard to do, it’s important to practice.